Today, Gov. Jay Inslee announced a four-week statewide set of restrictions in response to the recent rapid spread of the COVID-19 virus in Washington and across the country.
The new restrictions come as Washington sees consistent increasing daily case counts, over 2,000 cases a day over the weekend, and average cases in the state doubling over the past two weeks. According to Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkin, 20% of the state’s total cases of the last two weeks were in the city.
“This spike puts us in a more dangerous a position as we were in March,” Inslee said during a press conference Sunday. “And it means, unfortunately, the time has come to reinstate restrictions on activities statewide to preserve the public’s well-being, and to save lives. These were very difficult decisions that have very real consequences to people’s livelihoods. I recognize that and don’t take those impacts lightly, but we must act now and act quickly to slow the spread of this disease.”
The restrictions are statewide and will take effect Monday, November 16, at 11:59 PM and will remain in effect until Monday, December 14. However, the modified restrictions of restaurants will take effect Wednesday, November 18, at 12:01 AM.
Any activities not included in these restrictions should follow current guidance. All K-12/higher education, child care, and courts and court-related proceedings are exempt from the new restrictions.
Some of these restrictions are:
- Indoor social gatherings with people outside your household are prohibited unless you quarantine for 14 days before or quarantine for 7 days prior and have a negative Covid test.
- Restaurants and bars are closed for indoor dining, and outdoor is limited to no more than 5 people per table. Take out service is still allowed.
- In-store retail is limited to 25% capacity (grocery stores and personal services)
- Religious services must be limited to 25% occupancy or 200 people, whichever is fewer; choir, bands, and congregational singing are prohibited. Solo performances are allowed.
- Gyms and Fitness facilities are closed for indoor operations. Outdoor activities are limited to 5 people.
[To see all the restrictions go here.]
Governor Inslee stressed how important it is to continue supporting our healthcare workers, resist hoarding, so our supply chain stays healthy, and pressure the federal government for help. He also expressed a message of hope that with some diligence, these will only be temporary measures.
“There is light at the end of this tunnel. We will continue to fight, adapt and persevere. It may be months before we’re totally out of the clear, but medical advances are putting us closer to the goal of restoring all activities eventually. For now, we have to keep everyone’s interests in mind and take steps that protect all Washingtonians.”